Trip to Northland – Top of NZ – Day 1

This trip to me was much awaited for – always wanted to be there!

This New Year was the perfect timing to explore this new unexplored paradise and the magical journey from Auckland to Cape Reinga – the top of New Zealand.

I planned this trip again with few friends of mine who are travel freaks and love to meet the new faces of nature with every outing. This was a 3day round road trip for us where we wanted to uncover the beauty spots from Auckland – Whangarei – Kawakawa – Russell – Bay of Islands – Waitangi – Cape Reinga – Taipa – Waipoua Kauri Forest – Dargaville – Auckland.

As this trip was inclusive of multiple stopovers – I will share my experience as we moved from one day to another.

Day 1

We started early at 6 am in the morning and reached Whangarei in about two and a half hours. The picturesque city is packed with beautiful cafes, restaurants, art galleries, and its most known for Hatea Loop. This is 4.2 kilometres harbour side walkway featuring sculptures and artwork of local artists. The Heritage panels alongside the footbridge reads the history of the area. img_3441

After this beautiful walk, we headed towards Whangarei Falls. This can be reached via loop walk of about 30 minutes from AH Reed Kauri Park around the waterfall with a footbridge at the bottom.

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The next stop over for us was Kawakawa – a small town of Northland region in New Zealand. The place is quite famous for its colourful and bright buildings and Hundertwasser toilet block designed by an Austrian artist. During our short stay of about an hour at the town, we were lucky to see the running train in the middle of the main street.

After getting a good glimpse of the town and a cup of coffee, we now steered towards Opua to catch a vehicle ferry for Russell. This vehicle ferry was an awesome experience for us as a first time user. There was a waiting time of about 15 minutes in the queue and the round trip cost was $20 NZD (including car and passengers).

Russell is a small town with a rich history. The place is known as a landmark of its first European settlement and first seaport in the country. We visited Long Beach famous for its beautiful long expanse of golden sand. A short drive away was Flagstaff Hill – a key place in the Maori land wars. It also offers the panoramic view of Bay of Islands – Paihia, Russell, and Oneroa Bay. What a lovely sight it was – fabulous!

It was 4 pm and the weather was just perfect – a bright sunny day. We left after having quick snacks from the place to see Waitangi Treaty Grounds as we were running short of time and place was about to close at 5 pm.

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As we arrived late, we were not able to experience the cultural experience and the museum though the venue itself was a delight.

Just around the corner was Haruru Falls, meaning Big Noise. The falls are famous for its horseshoe shape and is an absolute visit when you are at Bay of Islands. We drove to the destination but there’s a track from Waitangi Grounds which takes you to the Falls.

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Now was the time to reach Paihia – a seaside town in Bay of Islands known for golden sand beaches, swimming, and sunbathing. The place is also recognised as ‘The Jewel of the Bay of Islands’.

We had a good fun time near the beach with some wine and beer along with sunbathing, kayaking, and swimming. Just so perfect destination to relax!

As we were about to end our day, we now had to head towards our lodge at Kaitaia – a drive of about another two hours from Paihia. As this trip was quite in moment planned, we were not able to book any accommodation near Paihia – everything was packed already. Therefore, the last and only alternative for us was to book prior at Kaitaia for next two nights.

My next post will uncover my subsequent day tour and activities.

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